Global Trends At-a-Glance

By the end of 2018, 70.8 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. That was an increase of 2.3 million people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population remained at a record high. This includes:

  • 25.9 million refugees in the world—the highest ever seen;
  • 41.3 million internally displaced people; and
  • 3.5 million asylum-seekers.

New displacement remains very high. One person becomes displaced every 2 seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence. That’s 30 people who are newly displaced every minute.

1 in every 108 people globally is either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.



Approximate equivalent to the entire population of Thailand.

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Noteworthy Facts and Statistics by Region/Country


Central African Republic

  • Since 2013, nearly 1 million men, women and children have fled their homes in desperation, seeking refuge within mosques and churches, as well as in neighboring countries (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and the Republic of the Congo).

Central America

  • In recent years, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have experienced a dramatic escalation in violence by organized criminal groups, locally called maras.
  • Current homicide rates are among the highest ever recorded in the region.
  • The number of people fleeing for their lives from Central America has grown by ten times in the past five years.
  • 90% of asylum-seekers in Mexico are from NTCA countries.


  • The ongoing conflict and violence in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the world is causing large-scale displacement and refugees are seeking safety beyond the immediate region.
  • The lack of an increased number of legal pathways leaves so many people fleeing persecution with few choices, including many trying to reunite with family members in Europe. 
  • More than 1.4 million people to take their chances aboard unseaworthy boats and dinghies in a desperate attempt to reach Greece, Italy and Spain en route to Europe since 2015.


  • More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced across the country since the start of 2014 and more than 240,000 are refugees in other countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Germany.

South Sudan

  • Since December 2013, brutal conflict in South Sudan has claimed thousands of lives and driven 3.3 million people from their homes. While an estimated 1.9 million people remain displaced inside the country, 2.2 million have fled as refugees to neighboring countries in a desperate bid to reach safety. 
  • Uganda currently hosts the most South Sudanese refugees, having taken in more than 1 million people.


  • Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population in the world, with 13 million people at the end of 2018. That’s more than half of the Syrian population. 
  • More than 5 million people have fled Syria seeking safety in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond. In Lebanon, where more than 1 million Syrian refugees reside, there are no formal refugee camps and approximately 70 percent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line.
  • In Jordan, over 660,000 Syrian refugees are trapped in exile. Approximately 80% of them live outside camps, while more than 140,000 have found sanctuary at the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps. 93% of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line.

Rohingya Refugee Emergency

  • As of April 2018, an estimated 671,000 Rohingya children, women and men have fled to Bangladesh escaping violence in Myanmar since August 25, 2017.
  • The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.


  • Two and a half years of conflict has left more than 1 million Ukrainians displaced from their homes, including 66,000 people with disabilities. 
  • 300,000 others have sought asylum in neighboring countries.


  • Fighting in Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has severely compounded needs arising from long years of poverty and insecurity.
  • Nearly 20 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance. Those forced to flee their homes are especially at risk. Over 2 million people now languish in desperate conditions, away from home and deprived of basic needs. The situation is so dire that 1 million displaced Yemenis have lost hope and tried to return home, even though it is not yet safe.


of refugees come from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.


General Trends:

  • Refugees children are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers.
  • Only 3.4 million of the 7.1 million refugees of school-age were enrolled in primary or secondary education in 2018. More than half of them — 3.7 million — did not go to school.
  • Primary education enrollment for refugees increased from 61 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2018, in large part due to improvements for Syrian refugee children thanks to increased international efforts and measures taken by host governments.

Primary, Secondary and Higher Education:

  • 76 percent of refugee adolescents were not in secondary school.
  • 61 percent of refugee children, and less that 50 percent of refugee children in low-income countries, attend primary school. Globally, 91 percent of children attend primary school.
  • 24 percent of refugee adolescents, and 9 percent of refugee adolescents in low-income countries, attend secondary school.  Globally, 84 percent of adolescents attend secondary school.
  • Only 3 percent of refugees enroll in college or university.  Across the world, enrollment in college or university stands at 37 percent.

Gender Gap:

  • For every ten refugee boys in primary school, there are fewer than eight refugee girls.
  • For every ten refugee boys in secondary school there are fewer than seven refugee girls.

3.7 Million

Number of refugee school-age children not in school.

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